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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 November 2018) . . Page.. 4817 ..

Under “housing, outdoor spaces and buildings”, the age-friendly suburbs program has been rolled out in Ainslie, Weston, Kaleen and Monash, bringing improved footpaths, additional ramps and upgraded lighting. Consultations on the age-friendly suburbs program continued in 2017-18 for the rollout of the program for Page and Hughes. The community’s feedback is being used to determine the priority upgrades in each suburb, and these were delivered in 2017-18.

Under “transportation”, priority, improvement works have been carried out on 68 per cent or 1,500 of the total 2,200 bus stops in Canberra, including making a number more accessible for older Canberrans. This work will continue in 2018-19, with priority bus stop infrastructure upgrades planned across the ACT to facilitate the expansion of rapid bus services across Canberra.

The final priority area for the framework was “respect and social inclusion”. During 2017-18 there were a host of key consultation forums which specifically targeted older Canberrans, including the age-friendly city review, the Retirement Villages Act review, the development of the ACT’s new housing strategy, the better suburbs community engagement, and the ACT movement and place framework.

Three thousand printed surveys were distributed during Seniors Week events as part of the age-friendly city survey. They were delivered to various community locations, including ACT public libraries, community centres and seniors centres. The survey was also available and promoted online through the your say website. There was a strong response to the survey, with 768 survey responses received. The survey results highlighted the important voluntary and caring roles that older Canberrans play and that most older Canberrans are active and healthy. The survey also highlighted the importance of tackling discriminatory and disrespectful attitudes and behaviours towards older Canberrans and raised access to public transport, affordable parking and safe walkways as important factors to Canberra as an age-friendly city.

Older Canberrans were also a target audience of consultation work done to prepare the ACT’s new housing strategy. In particular, the housing and homelessness summit in 2017 included a focus on the housing and support needs of Canberra’s ageing population, particularly older women. What emerged from this summit was that older people want greater housing choice. People also want access to affordable and secure housing that suits the needs of older people through investment in a broad range of housing models and incentives for co-housing and group share models, and more affordable rental models.

Older women with limited financial resources and at risk of homelessness were also a focus of discussions during the summit. In response to the issue, the government committed over $1.7 million in the 2018-19 budget to establish a new service to better support older women who are experiencing financial stress to maintain their tenancies or identify more suitable sustainable housing before they reach crisis. The service will also look at the support needs of older women who are homeless and address homelessness gaps in services.

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